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Choosing Kitchen Lighting for Your Home

March 26, 2024
Lighting Expert, @lightsdotcom

The Kitchen is the center of family life. Besides a space for preparing food, the kitchen is the social heart  and an intimate domestic space, and how you light this unique room has a lasting impact on everyday life. When updating our kitchens, we think a lot about style, finish, and details - but the best kitchen lighting is a balance of beauty and every day functionality.

Large kitchen or small- this room demands intentional light layering and careful consideration of each fixture. They should not just work well together, they should look like they were made for each other and personally chosen for your home. That’s why our lighting collection offers versatile finishes for every light-from kitchen pendants to over-the-sink lighting.

As lighting experts, we’re here to guide you through choosing the right lighting and will offer advice and tips on how to effectively light your unique kitchen space. Scroll to the bottom of this article for a Q&A!

Aria 10" Clear Globe Pendant in Polished Nickel

Kitchen Pendant Lighting

Pendant lights are most often seen in large kitchens, but these versatile ceiling light fixtures work well in medium or even small kitchens. The most common place to install hanging kitchen lights is over an island for prep lighting, or over a breakfast bar/ countertop. Professional interior designers will tell you that classic kitchen island lighting follows a ‘rule of threes’. Stying three identical or complementary pendants together creates visual balance and also proper lighting for all the prep work that happens on an island. If you have a small kitchen or a shorter island, two pendants may be the best choice. Make sure you measure the space and don't crowd the lights. 

The variety of pendant lighting available speaks to the popularity of this mode of light fixture. Sleek, industrial fixtures, classic glass globe shades, and every finish under sun is available. Don’t be afraid to make a statement with a dramatic black hanging pendant, or hold out for exactly the modern LED ceiling light you’re looking for. They’re out there.

Hot Tips:

  • The type of pendant you choose for the kitchen is largely dependent on the size of the island. Select a pendant that when featured in threes occupies the length of the island while also leaving about 12-18” of space in between.

  • Don’t let the pendants block your sight. To make sure you’ve got a clear view, suspend pendants either 72” from the floor or 30-36” above the island’s countertop.

Overhead Kitchen Lighting

Depending on the size, or style, of your kitchen, you may be considering some overhead lighting for extra lighting support. Enter our track lighting collection to help you keep your cooking on track! (See what we did there?) These modern kitchen lights are adaptable for nearly any space and have valuable dimming capabilities to meet all of your lighting needs.

Hudson 32" Track Light in Brushed Brass
Milo LED Arc Pendant in Aged Brass

Kitchen Chandeliers

If you’re looking to make a statement, who doesn’t love a good chandelier? While a chandelier in the kitchen is not the most common kitchen island lighting idea, it packs a serious visual punch.

Depending on the size of the island, of course, you may be able to get away with only hanging a single chandelier. If this is one of the lighting ideas that appeals to you, look for a chandelier that branches outward. The more horizontal ground it covers, the more you’ll evenly illuminate the kitchen island space.

Over-the-Sink Wall Sconces

Ideal in multiples or pairs; these wall lights add ambient, yet direct light exactly where you need it. Install these stylish, eye-catching sconces above windows or shelves for an elevated farmhouse style in your kitchen or pantry. Add a dimmer and enjoy a truly customizable lighting experience.

Owen Adjustable One Arm Sconce in Satin Brass

These are only a few kitchen island lighting ideas. Whether you opt for small or large, two or three, or none-of the-above, if you have a bit of fun with your pendant selection and follow the general rules of height and spacing, you’ll have lighting that showcases your style and makes the home’s hub that much more inviting.

Q&A: Submit your question

All questions are answered within 24 hours.

  • What coordinates well in small kitchen using track(brass) near cooking /sink area but need some type of lighting over table in nook area

    Thanks for your question! A Brass pendant light over your dining nook could be a lovely solution. You'll want the bottom of your pendant light to sit about 30-36" inches above the tabletop, and be no larger in diameter than half the width of your table. For example, if you have a 36" round table, you would want a pendant that is 10 - 18" in diameter. Check out our growing track lighting collection here, and coordinate with a stylish pendant light of your choosing! 

  • Hi! I have a large open concept kitchen with gray cabinetry and will be changing the cabinet hardware to aged brass. My kitchen island is about 12ft long. I’m going to for modern farmhouse glam throughout my home. Which pendant lighting would you recommend?

    Thanks for your question! Based on your description, I would recommend either the Anover Lantern Pendants or the Luca Pendants. Both styles come in satin brass, which would coordinate well with your aged brass hardware (not an exact match - but that's OK!) Based on a 12' foot island, you could use three medium-size Anover pendants or three medium-sized Luca pendants with approximately 30" space between them. Hope that helps, happy shopping! 

  • I have a ceiling that's around 8ft. Can these pendants be adjusted?

    All of our pendants can can be adjusted to fit the space you have.

  • Which would look best for a kitchen island, tracking lights or pendants?

    It really depends on the kitchen! Track lighting is great in most kitchens, but especially in a room with a lower ceiling. Pendent lighting is also fantastic over an island. It's all about your personal style. 

  • I'm doing a vintage main street diner type of vibe in my kitchen. Which of these lights be good with that theme?

    Oh that's exciting! I'd suggest a cool Aria Flush Mount with Clear Glass, or some funky Castell Pendants.